For The Very First Time and Now Forever and Ever and Ever
The notion struck me like a punch. What if this was what she had always looked like. It's one of those sneaking notions that only tip toes up behind parents. Twenty year old single men don't have such ideas. The instant it struck me I felt tears well up in my eyes, but not because I was upset at the notion of my beautiful daughter not looking like the stunning little girl that I knew, but because I loved her oh so much anyway...despite of the disfiguration. There were her beautiful eyes, the same ones that stared up at me as I rocked her to sleep as a baby. There was that smile, the one that drips with sweetness, overflowing with the sweetest of thoughts and words, and questions and sentiments. There was her mouth...her mother's mouth, full and soft to kiss. This was my stunning daughter disfigured or not, and I loved her more in that instant. For one quick second beauty became about what I knew her to be and not what she looked like. I'm not sure if I'll ever love her again like I did before today...at least never again at any depth shallower than the one I'm now well over my head in. So this is love. I thought I knew it before...I didn't.
I once told a good, good friend who had just received the news that his son would be born with only a partially formed left hand...a fetal development called Amniotic Band Syndrome...that the news struck me as an incredible opportunity to love differently and more uniquely than your average parent. I sincerely saw it as a chance to experience love like few ever get to. Cash's left hand was a gift of unfiltered, unfettered love for the people who made him and those of us who have come to know the quiet, thoughtful child he is. I believed those sentiments to be true, with all of my heart. Today I saw my daughter through a different lens, one that I didn't expect to ever see her through, and I loved her more than I ever had. We all love our children but I suspect those of us who catch glimpses of them not as we imagined them to be some long distant 3AM, but as they really are actually do love deeper, with more of themselves, what I believe now to be the best parts.
The phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," doesn't begin to articulate the emotions. Today Zoey was beauty, and in an instant I threw that old lens away. Love, real love, is blind as a @#$%ing bat. I think that's something that you have to get sucker punched with.